HOTDOG are back.
tHe irish lOngiTudinal stuDy On aGeing (TILDA to themselves, HOTDOG to this blog, and I’m really hoping that one day one of their researchers says “everyone seems to think we’re called HOTDOG and we can’t find out why”) called again on Monday. Two years ago ago they selected a numbers of houses at random and asked people over 50 would they tart in a major long-term study during which they would call every two years to monitor how our health, lifestyle and financial situation have changed or otherwise, using to data collected to influence Government thinking, as they put it, “towards making Ireland the best place in the world to grow old”.
I am at lower end of their target age-spread (since the spouses of the over-50s are asked to participate too Mrs Tin is even lower, now taking part for the second time while still not having reached the age of 50). There will be people more than 30 years older than me taking part, so I can understand why they read out three words and got me to call them back, asked did I feel out of breath after climbing one flight of stairs and do I dress myself (I answered yes in the belief that they were asking did I put on my own clothes, though if they actually meant “have you ever heard the phrase ‘you’re not going in that, are you?'” then I may have given them false information).
In a section where we’d to rate statements on a scale of five from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree one of the statements was “I am better than most people, and I know it”. I’m sorry, but they asked for honesty.
I felt that there was a sense of sadness in the overall tone of the questioning, though. I was asked whether I ever feel anxious, or stressed, or depressed and ok, they’ve got me there. But they asked do I ever feel worthless, or fearful of walking alone, or that I would be better off dead, and obviously these are questions that they need to know the answers to.
But I thought that there were too many of these. They gave the impression that I am marching year by year towards the town of Oldie, and that it a bleak, depressing, soul-destroying place. But I have a dad and friends (many of them here) who seem to embrace and love the age at which they are, and lead rich and interesting lives, and the tone of questioning did not seem to allow for that possibility.
They never seem to have heard of this poem, which reflects the way I intend to behave (I already have a purple polo-shirt that I wear to work).
I wasn’t asked do I ever laugh. Are we not supposed to?